Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner” as Want to Read:
The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner

by
3.65  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  10 reviews
How did a serial killer from the 19th century almost get away with murder?

At the end of the 19th century, Martha Needle became known as ‘The Black Widow’ of the Richmond poisoning case after secretly poisoning her husband and children.
The Black Widow was a media sensation in her day, as infamous as Ned Kelly (even sharing the same lawyer). After poisoning her husband and
...more
Paperback, POD, 226 pages
Published February 13th 2019 by Samantha Battams
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret Art of Poisoning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Secret Art of Poisoning

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah BlumThe Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor HermanThe Secret Poisoner by Linda StratmannWicked Plants by Amy  StewartThe Poison Squad by Deborah Blum
Poison Nonfiction
26 books — 7 voters
A is for Arsenic by Kathryn HarkupArsenic and Old Lace by Joseph KesselringMarlfox by Brian JacquesOutcast of Redwall by Brian JacquesThe Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum
Poison!
45 books — 7 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-42
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  23 ratings  ·  10 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Secret Art of Poisoning: The True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner
Narrelle
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I first moved to Melbourne in the late 1990s, I lived in Richmond. At some point during my five years there, before I moved to the city, I learned about Martha Needle, the woman who lived on Bridge Road in the 1890s and poisoned her husband, three children and the brother of her fiance.
That's as much as I knew, but that little conjured an image of a sly, vicious woman, disposing of unwanted encumbrances to get her own way and maybe a spot of insurance money.

As with all true stories, however
...more
Jess
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable read! A great insight into the social and economic struggles of the time told through the life experiences of Martha Needle. I particularly enjoyed reading the actual transcript of the trial and the characters surrounding it.
David Kilner
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Samantha Battams
The Secret Art of Poisoning

The nineteenth century is often characterised as the Age of Steam; it was also the Age of Poison, with substances such as arsenic, cyanide and strychnine readily available to aspiring murderers.

The Secret Art of Poisoning illustrates the case of arsenic poisoning by relating the story of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner.

Samantha Battams has written an engrossing account of the Needle case and set it moreover in the context of a time when vulnerable
...more
Lyn Parsons
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Saturday's Child
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Martha Needle was either a cold-blooded murderer or a ‘victim of circumstance’. I think it is up to the reader to decide despite the jury finding her guilty. This book gave me a more detailed look at her life and times.
Frank Review
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story of Martha Needle has been researched and told many times. Brian Williams did exactly this in his book published in 2018 and Martha's crimes have featured on numerous occasions in newspapers in recent years.

As one would expect from an academic, Dr Battams has also thoroughly researched Martha's story and set it against a well-written backdrop describing the impact of social and economic conditions of the time. The use of Rough on Rats (well-known as a poison of choice) is examined in th
...more
Moira Were
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A meticulously researched book which covers all the facts, details and circumstances of Martha Needle and her crimes. The economic, social and historical context is woven throughout to give the story depth and bring the characters and the locations to life. So many of the issues that faced women like Martha and children of her time remain - child protection, quality of evidence, poverty, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse. This true crime story is more than an historical narrative.
Claire Page
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Could have done with better editing as there are lots of little errors throughout. However the story was very interesting and I found the Epilogue particularly good in the way it compared and contrasted the events of the 1890s with contemporary issues.
Ruth Hosford
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Very well researched. It wasn’t a style of writing I found comfortable reading. I also had an issue with the author using the incorrect past tense for hang, and although it only occurred a few times, it jarred badly.it was a very informative read, but a tad too long winded for me.
Beks
Poorly edited, and the past tense of "to hang" as a method of dispatching life is "hanged!"

Otherwise an interesting story about an Australian criminal figure
...more
Maggi Boult
rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2019
Tara C.
rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2020
Warwick Conway
rated it really liked it
Sep 22, 2019
Bryan Ross
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2020
Kate Saunders
rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2019
Tianne Shaw
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2019
Karen
rated it did not like it
Jun 24, 2019
Juia Overton
rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2019
Marianna
rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2019
Jenny
rated it really liked it
Aug 02, 2020
Amanda Tovell
rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2019
Martin James Alsford
rated it did not like it
Dec 09, 2019
Sonja Lawrance
rated it liked it
Jul 10, 2019
Tansy
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2020
Rachel EC
marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2019
Carly
marked it as to-read
Feb 20, 2019
Brylie
marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2019
Christine
marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2019
Michelle Hickey
marked it as to-read
Mar 06, 2019
Em__Jay
marked it as to-read
Mar 18, 2019
Kirsty
marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2019
Jennifer Hunter
marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2019
Alanna
added it
May 08, 2019
Cassa Stokes
marked it as to-read
May 14, 2019
Belle
added it
May 18, 2019
Josie
marked it as to-read
May 20, 2019
Alexa Finlayson
marked it as to-read
May 31, 2019
Kylie Saunders
marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2019
Louise Shirvington
marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2019
Alexandra Taylor
marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2019
Kristy K Fox
marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2019
Lizzie
marked it as to-read
Aug 03, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Linebacker: The Untold Story of the Air Raids over North Vietnam
  • Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
  • Melbourne in the Eye of the Storm: Australia and the CSS Shenandoah in the American Civil War
  • The Darwin Affair
  • The Devil All the Time
  • The Scholar (Cormac Reilly, #2)
  • We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals
  • Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie
  • Teen Titans: Raven
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • The Girls in the Picture
  • Dog Stories
  • The Mermaid Handbook: An Alluring Treasury of Literature, Lore, Art, Recipes, and Projects
  • Who Was Dracula?: Bram Stoker's Trail of Blood
  • Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII
  • Adeline: A Novel of Virginia Woolf
  • The Boyfriend
  • The Cunning Little Vixen
See similar books…
4 followers
Samantha Battams is a writer of non-fiction historical books/biographies based on Australian history. Her first book is a true-crime tale from the 19th century on a serial murderess: The Secret Art of Poisoning: the True Crimes of Martha Needle, the Richmond Poisoner (self-published in February 2019).
Her second book was written with co-author Les Parsons and is on a pioneer aviator from WW1: The
...more

News & Interviews

Twists, turns, red herrings, the usual suspects: These books have it all...and more. If you love mysteries and thrillers, get ready for dozens...
126 likes · 30 comments